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Public Statements

FISA Amendments Act of 2008

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC


FISA AMENDMENTS ACT OF 2008 -- (House of Representatives - March 14, 2008)

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Mr. CHABOT. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, we are on the floor today debating yet again another set of amendments to FISA, another set of amendments that limit the ability of law enforcement and intelligence communities to make this Nation safer, another set of amendments that have no chance of becoming law. What these amendments do confirm is that we are a litigious society, that some are willing to put lawsuits over safety.

Prior to the passage of the Protect America Act, our intelligence community told us that they missed more than two-thirds of all overseas terrorist communications because of gaps and inconsistencies in the law. In August, we closed those holes, giving law enforcement and the intelligence communities the tools and resources they need to stay one step ahead.

Disappointingly, 26 days have passed since those provisions expired. For 26 days now, our law enforcement and intelligence communities have had to revert back to the status quo. They have had to revert back to a status that allows terrorists to have the upper hand. And yet this Chamber continues to bring legislation that we know will not do the job, all the while, knowing that there is a solution, a bipartisan solution, to this predicament.

The bipartisan solution lies in the legislation passed by the Senate 30 days ago. These amendments continue and build on the authorizations provided by the Protect America Act, ensuring that surveillance continues on foreign targets outside the United States. Immunity is provided to our communication partners, FISA applications, and orders are processed in a more timely manner, and lengthening the periods of emergency authorization for electronic surveillance.

Yet this bill is mindful of our Constitution and the protections it affords to U.S. citizens, whether they are inside or outside the United States. Moreover, the authority provided by the bill sunsets in 6 years, allowing Congress to revisit if issues arise.

I urge my colleagues to not make the safety of the American people a partisan issue.

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There are many things that we can disagree on, but the safety of this country should not be one of them. Let's not send the message that litigation is more important than patriotism, but that we are committed to standing as one in doing what is necessary and needed to keep this Nation safe.

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